Pro Arte question.

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
djqsrv
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Pro Arte question.

Post by djqsrv » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:09 pm

For those who prefer hard tension pro Arte over regular. Is it a sound thing or a feel thing?
After trying lots of different strings I find myself always coming back to pro arte. In switching back and forth between regular and hard tension I always think the ones I just switched to sounds better. I just went from hard to regular and now I’m thinking these sound so much better then the hard. Even though my last string change went from regular to hard and I felt the hard tension was the best. I know this is mostly from comparing old strings to new and it’s tough to make a direct comparison on the same guitar. So if all things are equal I guess I should make my choice between these by how they feel under the fingers.
Hard tension feels better to me. I seem to get a more consistent release of my fingers on both rest and free strokes. I like that little bit more resistance I feel as I press into the strings. I’m sure it’s because I have used them more and I would probably come to be just as comfortable with the lighter tension over time.
I look through these forums and I find lots of threads about what strings sound better then others but not so much about picking strings based on feel.
Anyone choose based on feel over sound? If you found really sweet sounding strings but you hated the way they felt would you still use them?
When I’m playing without nails just flesh I prefer the sound of carbons. Though I hate the thin feel.
How do you all feel about sound vs feel?
“I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.“ - Jimi Hendrix

Jack Douglas
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by Jack Douglas » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:23 pm

Great question and observation. I use a different string brand but have gone back and forth between hard and normal tension strings. A Luthier friend suggested a mixed tension set as follows: Hard tension basses and G and normal tension b and e. I fell in love with this combination! The Hard tension e and b were more focused, but not as sonorous (sweet and singing). Changing them to normal tension totally changed the overall feel and tone! Mixed set all the way!
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Laudiesdad69
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:54 pm

I had a Ramirez that the best sounding strings were EJ45 medium tension. They sounded better on that guitar than EJ46, and I liked the feel better. They were consistent with good intonation. I tried various other, and more expensive, strings on that guitar.

I've used Jack's idea of using hard tension basses with medium tension trebles with good results. I was able to really dig in on the basses. But I found that the sustain was better all the way around with medium tension.

I currently have only one decent guitar, a Ramirez 4NE, and it is currently strung with Hannabach Exclusive MT basses and Dogal Diamante strong tension trebles. The basses say medium tension on the package, but in reality they are more or less medium hard. The D and A strings are beefier than the med tension pro arte. The low E is 42 guage. The trebles are more or less medium tension, but a little bit thicker than the pro arte. They are only a half pound different in tension from the Ramirez med tension set with carbon G, and they feel pretty much the same under the left hand.

You should get your strings from Strings by Mail, if you don't already. They sell half sets and single strings for many brands that they sell. Makes for cost effective experimentation.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:58 pm

All subjective perception set aside, one can't attribute the quality of a set entirely to the strings only.

There must be a match between the string tension and the stiffness and responsiveness of the top of the guitar. There are so many factors from the guitar side that contribute to the feel and sound of strings, that it is an entirely integrated system. Even such factors like the stiffness of the neck (guitar neck, not yours :wink: ) or the distance of the strings to the top may contribute to the feeling and sound.

From my own experience one really has to experiment a lot until one finds out which set suits a given guitar.

And that is also not carved in stone: as you develop your playing your evaluation of sound and playing feel also changes, so you might go from softer to harder or the other way...
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nokturnal
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by nokturnal » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:53 am

I like my LH fingers comfort with ej46. Slurs would be effortless. But sound wise, i am more towards savarez corum new cristal.

djqsrv
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by djqsrv » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:19 pm

nokturnal wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:53 am
I like my LH fingers comfort with ej46. Slurs would be effortless. But sound wise, i am more towards savarez corum new cristal.
Corum and cantiga with new crystal are both on my list to try.
I decided that I would cut some sets out early so I can get a better new to new comparison. Upon doing that I definitely like the sound of the hard Pro Arte over the regular. The high e is a little thin and plinky. Also I much prefer the thicker strings under my left hand fingertips. I think the thickness more then the tension is what I like.
I just tried savarez alliance with ht basses. If I was only using flesh and no nails I may stick with these as they are very bright but to bright the way I play. I also really don’t like how thin they feel to my left hand.
I just but in a mixed set I had laying around to try. Dongle diamanté regular trebles and Augustine black basses.
This is where the new to new comparison changed my perception. I cut out a very fresh set of regular Pro Arte for these and I found that I like the diamanté trebles much better. Just goes to show how it’s tough to compare if you wait for your current set to be dead. At that point anything new sounds better.
“I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.“ - Jimi Hendrix

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Beowulf
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by Beowulf » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:57 pm

For me it's both sound and feel. I have used EJ44C (Extra Hard Tension) for decades and this on a 662mm scale instrument which used to have a very high (6mm/5mm) action that I dropped (5mm/4mm). It was not easy to play even with regular tension strings which was the reason I dropped the action in the first place. However, when I did this, I found that I could not play in my usual style which has a good attack and a relatively heavy stroke, without buzzes, particularly on the bass strings. So, I went to higher tension strings that suited my playing style and permitted good dynamic range with my instrument.

Yes, optimal string tension will vary from instrument to instrument in the sense that the top may be setup for a higher or lower tension strings, and "like" to be driven by a particular tension, but there are a number of other important factors to consider. These observations spring from my own personal experience and have a lot to do with my right hand nail configuration and technique.

My nails are small (think reduced contact area from the point of attack to the point of release) and rather sharply curved at the edges...more so on the inside of the finger. No matter how carefully I file, shape and smooth, I cannot get good tone playing in the traditional direction from the inside to the outside of the finger/nail. Years ago my teacher (who was an accomplished lutenist as well as a guitarist) suggested that I try playing from the outside towards the inside, as had been done by Ida Presti, Alexandre Lagoya and Alice Artzt. I tried it and immediately my tone production, power and security were significantly improved. My wrist is more elevated and curved/dropped to the outside and the curve of my fingers carries more from a vertical knuckle position above the strings. I have had no adverse effects with this hand position after more than 40 years.

For me, given my right hand position and nail shape, a higher tension string is better. Tone production and speed are improved in part due to the necessity of a slightly heavier attack and in part due to the quicker return of the string to a neutral position. This is a tactile factor which is also influenced by the action height and the break angle at the saddle.

I recently reduced the action on my guitar to around 4.5mm/3.5mm and began experimenting with different strings. This height is about as low as will work well with my Yamaha GC-10. Neck relief and frets are fine...in fact I recently used a fret leveling kit to correct some small irregularities at the 6th, 8th, 9th and 11th frets. Playability improved. I am now using Augustine Regal/Blue strings and am adapting my technique for a slightly lower tension "feel". The reason for this change is simple: my soon to arrive Yamaha GC82S is a 650mm scale guitar with a 5/32" (3.97mm) and 1/8" (3.18mm) action, and will come with the Augustine strings. I know the feel will be different (as the guitar is different... :wink: ), but it is most likely the feel with be lighter than I am used to at present. Who knows, I may decide that I want a higher action...but I will take some time before I make that decision.

I have also experimented with diamond string ties as I gradually decreased the tension "feel", and they do slightly increase the tension/resistance "feel" of the strings due to the increased break angle at the saddle.

All this is to say that when comparing different string tensions there are many factors to consider and my experience has been that I need 2 to 3 months to fully adjust to a different tension and then make an informed decision as to my preference.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:10 am

Beowulf wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:57 pm


My nails are small (think reduced contact area from the point of attack to the point of release) and rather sharply curved at the edges...more so on the inside of the finger. No matter how carefully I file, shape and smooth, I cannot get good tone playing in the traditional direction from the inside to the outside of the finger/nail. Years ago my teacher (who was an accomplished lutenist as well as a guitarist) suggested that I try playing from the outside towards the inside, as had been done by Ida Presti, Alexandre Lagoya and Alice Artzt. I tried it and immediately my tone production, power and security were significantly improved. My wrist is more elevated and curved/dropped to the outside and the curve of my fingers carries more from a vertical knuckle position above the strings. I have had no adverse effects with this hand position after more than 40 years.
I play the same way, from the outside and releasing in the middle. I didn’t know that way was different, as I am largely self taught. The things one learns on this forum👍🏻😁

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Beowulf
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by Beowulf » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:48 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:10 am
I play the same way, from the outside and releasing in the middle. I didn’t know that way was different, as I am largely self taught. The things one learns on this forum👍🏻😁
When I first began to study the classical guitar (1962), my teacher did not even know that the apoyando stroke existed... :mrgreen: He had as I later learned a jazz/electric background. I "discovered" the difference between tirando and apoyando when I read "The Segovia Technique" and subsequently tried to emulate his hand position and finger action. That was in 1973 and I had to relearn my "technique" from the ground up. I had the good fortune to meet Segovia in 1974 when I attended his concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. He autographed my book and shook my right hand...consequently my right hand has always been somewhat better that my left... :lol: As an aside, I will say that I have never experienced shaking a hand that had such quiet power, before or since.

Back to the question of string tension: I do think that the preference also depends on playing style.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

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souldier
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by souldier » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:22 pm

I'm generally more sensitive to sound rather than feel. I find that I can adapt pretty easily to various tensions within reason of course. If you like both EJ45s and 46s and find advantages/disadvantages in both, then I'd just have both and alternate between the two depending on mood and current repertoire. It will make string changes more interesting and it will be one way to break the monotony of playing the same instrument.
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rinneby
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by rinneby » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:39 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:58 pm
All subjective perception set aside, one can't attribute the quality of a set entirely to the strings only.

There must be a match between the string tension and the stiffness and responsiveness of the top of the guitar. There are so many factors from the guitar side that contribute to the feel and sound of strings, that it is an entirely integrated system. Even such factors like the stiffness of the neck (guitar neck, not yours :wink: ) or the distance of the strings to the top may contribute to the feeling and sound.

From my own experience one really has to experiment a lot until one finds out which set suits a given guitar.

And that is also not carved in stone: as you develop your playing your evaluation of sound and playing feel also changes, so you might go from softer to harder or the other way...
:bravo:
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2007 - Curt Claus Voigt
2009 - Simon Ambridge

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

djqsrv
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by djqsrv » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:45 pm

So I finally had the chance to string up with savarez catinga new crystal high tension. First impressions after the regular tension dogal Diamante and Augustine black basses was wow these strings are super tight!!!
They feel quite a bit higher tension then Pro Arte hard even though they are very similar in tension according to strings by mail.

As far as the sound, the basses jumped right out at me. They are very strong. I like the basses allot. The new crystal trebles are much more traditional nylon sounding then the Diamantes. They sound the way a classical guitar should sound to me. Theses may be the new go to strings for me.
I also have a set of Augustine regal blue hard tension and another set of the Diamantes in hard tension to try.
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petermc61
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by petermc61 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:07 am

djqsrv wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:45 pm
So I finally had the chance to string up with savarez catinga new crystal high tension. First impressions after the regular tension dogal Diamante and Augustine black basses was wow these strings are super tight!!!
They feel quite a bit higher tension then Pro Arte hard even though they are very similar in tension according to strings by mail.

As far as the sound, the basses jumped right out at me. They are very strong. I like the basses allot. The new crystal trebles are much more traditional nylon sounding then the Diamantes. They sound the way a classical guitar should sound to me. Theses may be the new go to strings for me.
I also have a set of Augustine regal blue hard tension and another set of the Diamantes in hard tension to try.
Why all hard tension. Cantiga in medium is where the love is....

djqsrv
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by djqsrv » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:17 pm

All hard tension because I tend to like the feel of them. Though the savarez may be just a tad tighter then I would like. Pro Arte hard feel just perfect to me. They don’t sound all that bad either. I’ll put cantiga regular on my to try list.
“I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.“ - Jimi Hendrix

djqsrv
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Re: Pro Arte question.

Post by djqsrv » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:21 am

Strings by mail lists Pro Arte hard at a total of 89.94 lbs. it lists cantiga new crystal hard at 90.5 lbs. I would not think that small a difference would be so noticeable. Especially considering that most regular tension strings are down around a total of 85 lbs.
That half pound is just a bit to much for me. I like the sound and like most other hard tension strings I have used I like the ability to really dig in when I want to really get some volume and umph but the cantiga hard are just a little to stiff to me.
Anyone else find these play stiffer then the listed tensions?
I will be cutting them off tomorrow and I think I’m going to put some ej46’s on there to get my baseline back before trying another new set.
“I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.“ - Jimi Hendrix

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